Say Hello to Healthier Eating During the School Day

Many of us spend time and energy making sure that the food and drinks our kids have at home are healthy.  For example, after grocery shopping, I wash and cut up vegetables and fruit to have on hand throughout the week.  It takes a bit of time, but the upfront work is worth it (to me). Isn’t it nice to know your efforts at keeping your kids healthy are now continued at school?  That’s right, many schools in Halton have made healthy changes in the food choices they offer students.  As of September 1, 2011 all publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools in Ontario started following the Ontario Ministry of Education’s new School Food and Beverage Policy (PPM 150).

The policy is based on the principles of healthy eating as outlined in Canada’s Food Guide, and applies to food and beverages that are:

  • Sold in all venues on school property, such as cafeterias, vending machines, and tuck shops,
  • Through all programs including catered lunch programs
  • At all events on school property, including bake sales and sports events.

The standards do not apply to food and beverages that are:

  • Brought from home,
  • Offered to students at no cost,
  • Purchased during field trips off of school premises, sold in schools for non-school purposes,
  • Sold for fundraising activities that occur off school premises,
  • Sold in staff rooms

So what on earth does all this mean?  That pizza lunches are still being offered but with a healthy twist.  Like offering vegetarian pizza with whole grain crust, 100% fruit juice or milk and apples.  Other schools have substituted food fundraisers, such as chocolate bar sales, with non-food fundraisers such as dance-a-thons, fitness challenges or quiz/game nights. These fundraisers have been fun and profitable!

My son was quite excited to let me know he updated his whole school about the new policy by making a morning announcement – one of his duties as a member of student council.  Have your kids made any comments about the changes at their school?

Share your experience:

For healthy snack or healthy fundraising ideas for schools, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Jessica MacKay is a Registered Dietitian with the Halton Region Health Department.  She has been working with the Halton community for more than 20 years and has been working in the area of children and youth for the past 12 years.  Jessica has the privilege of working with the Halton District School Board on the new school food and beverage policy and sat on the school food and beverage steering committee over the past 2 years.  She co-presented about the policy at the Halton District School Board’s Parent Involvement Conference held on October 20th.  Jessica is a member of several provincial school nutrition workgroups.

Jessica enjoys staying active, eating well and enjoying time with her family which includes 2 teen-aged children.

This entry was posted in School, school health, School-aged Children, Teens and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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